Collaborative Practice: Shared Parental Responsibility for Health Care

Florida family judges must determine parenting matters according to the child’s best interests and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act.  There is an exception: modification of a parenting plan and time-sharing schedule requires showing a substantial, material, and unanticipated change of circumstances.” – Section 61.13(2)(c), Florida Statutes.

Florida parenting plans must designate who will be responsible for “any and all forms of health care.” – Section 61.13(2)(b)3., Florida Statutes states: “If the court orders shared parental responsibility over health care decisions, the parenting plan must provide that either parent may consent to mental health treatment for the child.” 

But, if the court doesn’t order shared parental responsibility over health care decisions for a child, the requirement that the parenting plan provide either parent may alone consent to the child’s mental health treatment doesn’t apply.

In a parenting plan, parents may ask the court to find shared parental responsibility would be detrimental to their child and to order one of them to have sole parental responsibility over mental health treatment decisions.  But what if the parents don’t want to agree shared parental responsibility would be detrimental, but would just like to make things clear and easier?

Without impinging on each parent’s retained right to consent to mental health treatment for their child, however, in the collaborative process, parents may explore options to specify parameters and protocols for their child’s mental health treatment. 

So, how may collaborating parents share parental responsibility, but clarify their intent about mental health treatment for their child?

⇒ Next: Collaborative Process: Clarifying Parents’ Intent About “Mental Health Treatment”

⇐ Previous: Amended Florida Parenting Plan Law Mandates Each Parent’s Retaining Consent to Mental Health Treatment

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